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9 Unearthed Gems on Grenfell Street, Adelaide

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by Graeme Fanning (subscribe)
I'm a tour guide who is passionate about South Australia and love to showcase to locals and visitors. Visit my facebook page at
Published September 29th 2019
Grazing along Grenfell Street
Another of the bustling streets within the CBD of Adelaide is Grenfell Street, which runs in an east-west direction between East Terrace and King William Street, named after a banker by the name of Pascoe St Leger Grenfell.

Grenfell was instrumental in establishing an Anglican presence in the colony of South Australia, being on the committee for the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts. Other notable committee members were Hindmarsh, Currie, Whitmore, Lefevre, Wakefield(brother of Edward Gibbon), Gouger, Gilles, Morphett, Kingston, Wright and the list goes on, many of them memorialised in our street and place names still today.

Grenfell, along with Raikes Currie, provided finance for the South Australian Colonisation Commission, the institution responsible for the establishment of South Australia in the first place.

On my jaunt down Grenfell Street, I discovered 9 unearthed gems amongst many others worthy of investigating further.

Grenfell Street Adelaide
Hindmarsh Square Adelaide

1. Bertram House

One of the fine things about Adelaide is not only it's heritage buildings but also its imagination and creativity in bringing some of them back to life for a more modern purpose. One such example is Bertram House built in 1897-1898 for the British & Foreign Bible Society, at that time one of the biggest publishing movements in the world.

This society was formed originally in London in 1804 and was responsible for publishing and distributing bibles.

The gothic style architecture of the building is imposing with its red terracotta brick together with Glen Osmond Bluestone base and cost around 1,000 pounds at the time to build.

Today the ground floor is the home of Adelaide Coffee Bar, which has been around for the past 16 years.Still featuring historic leadlighting as well as its ecclesiastical windows indicating its religious origins, the place has a good vibe the moment you walk inside.

So if you feel the need to grab a coffee in an historic setting, Bertram House is the place to go.

Adelaide Coffee Bar is open Monday to Friday 6.30 am to 4.00 pm.

The other great news is that the first floor of the building is also now occupied by Brick City Bar, described as "the people's bar". Drinks are priced at $6 for pints of beer and $7 for spirits with special student discounts on Thursdays and Saturdays. Brick City Bar is also a great venue for live music, open from Wednesday through to Saturday, 4 pm until late.

You will find Bertram House at 73 Grenfell Street in the city.

Grenfell Street Adelaide
Bertram House

2. Harry's Bar

What really grabs your attention upon entering Harry's Bar is its heritage feel, highlighted by the amazing wood panelling together with a central light well, in what was once the Tattersall's Club's Dining Room on the first floor. An impressive stained glass lantern also assists to illuminate the venue.

The building itself was erected in two stages, one in 1917 and the remainder on the eastern side of the building, in 1928. The club had originally started it's life in the old Globe Hotel in Rundle Street, following a visit by the Duke of Edinburgh (not the current one) in 1867, who was interested in meeting "sporting men over a glass of wine". To his surprise, Adelaide at that stage did not have a Tattersalls Club.

It was some years later in 1879 when the Tattersalls Club was finally formed here with the intent that "racing, hunting and coursing men could meet in comfort and privacy". The club became a popular betting shop, gaming house and gambling den for men in the city at that time.

During the 1880's South Australia introduced strict betting legislation, and club membership began to decline. The club closed for around a year in 1887, and then in 1888 Parliament passed a Totalizator Bill, which led to an increased interest in the club again.

Interestingly, women were not admitted as members to the club until the 1970s. In 1977 the Tattersalls Club building was finally sold. The exterior balustrade of the building still features a hint of its original use, that of horseshoes.

Today the balcony bar of Harry's Bar gives you an opportunity to enjoy the views out over Grenfell Street, as well as appreciate enjoying a drink in the nicer weather.

Foodwise, their everyday menu has some mouth-watering options including 300g Clare Valley Rump Steak with chips and salad for $23. Penne Gamberi which is Penne Pasta with Tiger Prawns, Chicken, Roast Capsicum, Onion, Chilli with a Rose Sauce will cost you $19.

The most you will pay for a main course is $23 making it quite reasonable for your pocket. You can dine in from 12 Noon until 8.30 pm Monday to Saturday.

Harry's Bar is located at 12 Grenfell Street in the city.

Grenfell Street Adelaide
Harry's Bar

3. Chateau Apollo

If you are looking for an alternate function venue facility that is central, then Chateau Apollo may provide you success.

Housed in a historic 90-year-old warehouse, Chateau Apollo offers in-house beverage, food, audio and lighting packages backed up by Comida Catering, which specialise in modern Spanish cuisine. Comida also has a cafe in the Central Market for a chance to try some of their fare.

For food packages, there are two options of Grazing Table, the first for $25 per person and the other, which includes paella, ideal for 50 guests will set you back $1,000. Grazing tables include charcuterie, pickles, radishes, dips, home-made bread, olives, goat's cheese, nuts, quince paste, dried fruit, other cheeses including brie, and strawberries.

There are also wood oven pizzas which cater for 12-14 guests and are $75 per pizza.

A combination of Tapas and Paella may be to your taste, which will cost you from $35 per person right up to $65 per person, dependent upon how many dishes you would prefer in your selection.

There are also sit-down shared menus, where you can go for simply the main course, or a combo of entree and main, or perhaps the whole 3 courses, including dessert. The 3 course option will set you back $85 per person, which entitles you to 2 entrees, 3 mains, 2 sides and 2 desserts.

There are also choices of beverage packages available.

This historic building started its life as the Grenfell Street Stadium and for a 10 year period from 1939 to 1949, it was the scene of thrilling fights as a boxing stadium. At that time, there were very few purpose-built boxing stadiums in the city and consequently many bouts were held in theatres, dance halls and even in the Jubilee Exhibition Building, which was located on North Terrace on the current site of the University of Adelaide.

Some of the interesting boxers who fought here were Bob "Bomb" King, Johnny Ryan and Cyril "Butcher" Wade.

In 1949 the stadium closed and the building was converted into stores for the nearby East End markets.

Several years ago Chateau Apollo revamped the location and is today a popular venue for special events and occasions.

Chateau Apollo can be found at 74 Frome Street in the city, right near the corner of Grenfell Street.

Grenfell Street Adelaide
Chateau Apollo

4. Jasmin Indian Restaurant

The Jasmin has been an Adelaide institution for almost 40 years now, having been established back in 1980 by the Singh-Sandhu family.

With top quality Indian cuisine, you'll never regret visiting and in fact, you'll be tempted to return again and again.

Main courses range from $27.50 to $34 and the cuisine is based on traditional North Indian recipes. If you like your Indian medium to hot, one of the options on the menu is a Bhoona Gosht, which is a Lamb Curry prepared to an old family recipe for $28.50.

For those of you who have a less fiery palate, you can't go wrong with a Chicken Tikka which is classified as mild to medium. This dish will cost you $27.50.

Jasmin also have a great range of vegetarian options and a good accompaniment for any main is Raita, which is a cooling combination of yoghurt, sultanas and cucumber for $7.50.

Jasmin is open for lunch Thursdays and Fridays from 12 Noon and for dinner, Tuesday to Saturday from 5.30 pm. Jasmin faces Hindmarsh Square near the corner of Grenfell Street at 31 Hindmarsh Square in the city.

Grenfell Street Adelaide
Jasmin Indian Restaurant

5. Gay's Arcade

Complementing and adjacent to Adelaide Arcade, Gay's Arcade is a testament to another time, erected during one of South Australia's economic depressions during the mid-1880s. The arcade was built on the site of an old burnt-out furniture showroom by Patrick Gay, its namesake.

Today the arcade still has access to Twin Street and sits at a right angle to Adelaide Arcade. Many of the first level businesses and shops still exist despite much modernisation occurring on the ground level during the 1950s and 1960s.

Some of the businesses operating today in Gay's Arcade include a great Italian cafe, Caffe L'Incontro, Adelaide Comic Centre, Chinese Traditional Clinic, traditional Japanese food in the form of Katsumoto Japanese, an Antiquarian book dealer, Letter Press Books, as well as Jewellery, Clothing, Photography and even a Ballet Studio.

Both Gay's Arcade, as well as Adelaide Arcade, have a great old-world feel about them and you can easily lose yourself for a while before you venture back out into modern life again.

Grenfell Street Adelaide
Gay's Arcade

6.The Griffins

On the site where today The Griffins stands, on the corner of Hindmarsh Square and Grenfell Street, there has been a pub of some description since 1856.

During the 1920s the pub was known as the General Gordon Hotel. Since that time it has been called Griffins Head Hotel/Tavern and now The Griffins, after a fresh make-over of recent times.

The Griffins is a great place to catch up with friends for a casual drink overlooking Hindmarsh Square and at this time of the year some chance to soak up the sun in their outdoor areas. The meals on offer vary from the traditional pub fare through to an upper-level notch dining experience.

Main courses on the traditional pub menu range from $22 to $25 and include Salt and Pepper Squid, Ale Battered Fish and Chips, and Chicken Breast or Porterhouse Schnitzel.

If you fancy something a little more creative and imaginative, prices for mains will vary from $20 to $39 dependent upon your choice.

Crispy Skin Barramundi with a warm Chorizo, Avocado, Tomato and Rocket Salad finished with Red Onion and a fresh Citrus dressing will empty your pocket of $29.

You can also order a shared Platter for $45, which has a combination of chicken, meatballs, salt and pepper squid, salad, bread and dressings.

There are also various food packages available for functions, for example, a three-course dinner for $37 per person with varying selections of entrees, mains and desserts. There are also cheaper packages based on the number of courses preferred.

For their summer set course menu, 3 courses are available for $52 and again cheaper options for less number of courses.

Also watch out for daily lunch and dinner specials, for example on Mondays, they have two pub meals for $25, on Wednesdays Parmis for $14 (Beef or Chicken) and Thursdays 2 Burgers for $25.

Trading Hours for The Griffins are Monday - Wednesdays 11 am - 10 pm, Thursdays 11 am - 11 pm, Fridays 11 am until late, and Saturdays 3 pm until late. The Griffins are at 38 Hindmarsh Square in the city.

Grenfell Street Adelaide
The Griffins

7. Le Carpe Diem

If French cafe creperies are more your style, then you should drop into Le Carpe Diem for a great selection and tasting.

For you Gluten Free loving people, you will be pleased to hear their savoury crepes contain no sugar, milk or eggs and the Buckwheat flour is also gluten-free.

For main course size crepes, prices range from $11 to $20.

For a bit of decadence, one of the top range crepes is called a Reinette, which comprises caramelised apple, salted caramel, cinnamon, vanilla ice-cream creme fraiche, Belgian melted chocolate and toasted almond for $20 or small serve for $16. You will definitely need something to wash it all down with, so a great coffee will round it off well.

Le Carpe Diem is open from Wednesdays each week, the hours being Wednesday and Thursday 8 am - 5 pm, Fridays and Saturdays 8 am - 10.30 pm and Sundays 9 am - 5 pm. They are located at 230-232 Grenfell Street in amongst the old East End market facades.

Grenfell Street Adelaide
Le Carpe Diem

8. Former T&G Building

Today standing somewhat dwarfed by some of Adelaide's other high rise buildings, the former T&G (Temperance and General) Mutual Life Assurance Society was one of a series of similar structures built for the same company around Australia and other parts of the world.

Adelaide's building was erected in 1925 and was our tallest building for some time, at a whopping 11 storeys, at that time the highest buildings were allowed to be. Some of its state-of-the-art features included lighting and ventilation and at the time was the best of its size in the Commonwealth.

During the early 1980s the building was gutted and internally re-built, and today the Quest Adelaide Central Apartments are tenants. It was announced in March this year that the top floor was going to be re-developed as 6 stand-alone apartments.

The Quest Adelaide Central Apartments make for a great central location for visitors to stay, being right on the corner of King William Street and Grenfell Street in the city. There are 72 serviced apartments including Studio, One, Two and Three Bedroom options.

Studio apartments start from $251 per night, however, if you are a member of Quest, rates will start from $226 per night.

You will find the old T&G building at 82 King William Street on the corner of Grenfell Street in the city.

Grenfell Street Adelaide
Old T&G Building

9. Crown and Anchor Hotel

The Crown and Anchor Hotel (or Cranchor as it is fondly known as) is another of Adelaide's older pubs, first licenced in 1853. Along with quite a few other hotels during the 1880s, it was completely re-built. Further extensions occurred during the 1920s.

One of the stories associated with the Cranchor in 1932 was of an incident when a horse housed in the stables behind the hotel was frightened and escaped into the street, running down towards Pirie Street. It was there that the poor horse collided with a vehicle, causing severe damage to the car. Luckily for the horse, it came off lightly.

The pub right from the early years had a chequered history, with tales of charges being laid against publicans for alcohol being served out of hours or on a Sunday, deaths occurring within its rooms and illegal betting/gambling.

Today the iconic pub is still thriving albeit now less dramatic than its early years and is a hive of activity particularly on Friday and Saturday nights. It is still after more than 20 years a great live music venue with regular gigs throughout the week and weekends.

The upstairs venue named Midnight Spaghetti offers a good range of snacks, share plates, sides, pasta and sweets to accompany the great sounds and one of the chef's specialties is a package of snacks, pasta, sides and sweets called "Spaghettaboutit" for $45.

Pastas range in price from $20 to $27 and Share Plates between $15 and $20.

The Cranchor is open Mondays to Saturdays 12 Noon until 3 am and Sundays 1 pm until Midnight. It can be found at 196 Grenfell Street in the city.

Grenfell Street Adelaide
The Crown & Anchor Hotel

A great selection of surprising finds along Grenfell Street await those interested.
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Why? An interesting mix of classic heritage buildings blended with modern cuisine
When: Any time of the year
Phone: 08 8203 7203
Where: Grenfell Street Adelaide
Cost: Dependent upon your plans
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